Author Topic: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?  (Read 1779 times)

Offline iratherfly

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A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« on: February 10, 2010, 02:05:19 AM »
21 days ago I made Camembert de Chevre.
It started out very nice as you can see in photos below.
  • Ladled just as they do in traditional Normandie AOC Camembert (picture 1).
  • 24 hour drain in 86F room. Used salt mixed with little ash to get a good visual on salt quantity and help stabilize surface acidity (Picture 2).
  • Put it in 89%-95%RH box inside a wine refrigerator at 55F for the next 7 days, wiping water beads, changing paper towel on bottom and turning cheese daily. At day 7 it was mostly covered with white bloom (Picture 3). I moved the box to a regular refrigerator at 41F and wrapped it 2 days later. it remained there for the next 2 weeks.
Around the second week I noticed that the beautiful white bloom began receding. I opened the wrap for couple of days in an aging box and it seemed to grow back. Also lowered the humidity by keeping the top partially open. The cheese smelled right but began to feel way too soft for its young age. When I opened the cheese earlier today I noticed a double trouble:
  • White bloom receded in an almost clean cut where the wrap folds were. The draining mat's ash paterns have returned to top and bottom. (Picture 4)
  • When I cut the cheese open, the rind was thick and did not seem to slip, In spite of a surprisingly good taste, aroma, salt levels and rind texture, this felt like french fries that were friend in too hot of an oil, overly done outside and undercooked inside. The contents were WAY TOO LIQUIDY! The center 1/4 core of the curd seemed underdeveloped. (Photo 5).
I have been doing many of Camembert style and lactic cheeses and really thought I figured these out by now. It seems I am still missing some batches. Does anyone have any idea as to where I went wrong?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:10:31 AM by iratherfly »


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Offline Alex

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 07:50:06 AM »
I made goats Camembert only once, it wasn't great success as it came out too dry. That means, I am not experienced with goats Cam. I only can mention that goats milk has a different behaviour than cows milk.
Regardless of the type of milk: when you wrap the cheese you prevent oxygen needed for the development of the white mold. The same time, from the same reason, humidity is increased inside the package and that has an effect like washed rind.
Before I set up my humidity and temperature controlled fridge (my cave :)), I made Camemberts according to a procedure I was taught. May be you will want to consider and try this method: it starts in a plastic box with an elevated rack on which the cheeses are placed. The humidity is controlled by blocking or releasing some 5-6 mm holes on the sides of the box. You should allow only the tiniest water drops on the lead and wipe them off. Within 10-14 days the cheeses should bloom (due to regular fridge temp 4-5 deg C). When the cheeses are covered with mold on about 75% of their surface you have to wrap the cheeses in wrinkled alum foil and place them in the less cold area in the fridge. Due to the wrinkles some oxygen is trapped that enables further blooming. Final result should occur after 4-5 weeks. I never failed with this method.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 02:35:43 PM »
That's an interesting tip Alex. Goat's milk seems to behave much the same as cow's milk in this instance. I added some CalCl to get a firmer curd. I do a fair share of white bloom goats' milk cheeses. This was the last of my "mystery culture" (pre mixed) cheeses. I since have decided to try a combination of Geo 17 + PC Neige. I hope that this would yield a milder, thinner rind with less ammonia and rapid-growth PC mold that would work in temperatures that you described.

As for the mold and box: I have been using box with an opening on top that I use to control humidity. I have a digital thermometer/hygrometer running in the box. I have been wrapping the cheese with proper Brie wraps that are perforated outside to keep them breathing and lined with parchment inside to absorb excess humidity. In this case it seems to have absorb more humidity than what I usually experience. It feels as if the wrapping has suffocated the cheese and drowned it with humidity (perhaps the reason why PC stopped growing while the Geo kept producing a thick rind, no PC standing in its way). Perhaps the air pockets you describe should have translated to a more loose wrapping on my part?

While my recipe is 55F (13°C) for 4-7 days and the remaining 14-21 days at 41F (5°C). I have seen other recipes that call for an entire maturation period of 50F (10°C) and I frankly don't know how it could work unless it's very dry.  Your method however is the first I hear of starting a Camembert low and then increasing temp, but it make sense in the analogy of French fries - give the inside time to cook without overcooking the outside. What would be your target 'less cold area of the fridge' temp? Mine is 41F (5°C) which seems like your colder temp. Would you say 45F-46F (7°C-8°C) maybe?

Also, once you put the aluminum foil on - do you remove the cheese from the aging box to prevent excess humidity buildup?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 02:43:59 PM by iratherfly »

Offline Alex

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 10:26:45 AM »
Quote
While my recipe is 55F (13°C) for 4-7 days and the remaining 14-21 days at 41F (5°C). I have seen other recipes that call for an entire maturation period of 50F (10°C) and I frankly don't know how it could work unless it's very dry.  Your method however is the first I hear of starting a Camembert low and then increasing temp, but it make sense in the analogy of French fries - give the inside time to cook without overcooking the outside. What would be your target 'less cold area of the fridge' temp? Mine is 41F (5°C) which seems like your colder temp. Would you say 45F-46F (7°C-8°C) maybe?

Also, once you put the aluminum foil on - do you remove the cheese from the aging box to prevent excess humidity buildup?

It looks that I didn't explain myself clear enough. According to my method I meant to age the cheese at the same relatively low temperature of a regular fridge, 4-5 deg C, from the beginning till the end. Once you wrap the cheese in alum foil, it doesn't matter where you put it, it's isolated from the surroundings anyway.
Finally, the method I use since I have the cave I've set up, I age the Camemberts in it all the way.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2010, 11:59:33 AM »
Thanks Alex, so your cave is 4-5 degrees and you do this all the way?

The question about removing or keeping the cheese in the box after wrapping has to do with the fact that the cheese breathes through the holes or perforations in the wrap (not vacuum packed after all). It responds differently if it is placed in a small box with trapped humidity, or large refrigerator with generous volume of air in low humidity. Since I have screwed up two batches at that specific stage I am trying to learn your successful method


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Offline Alex

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2010, 11:30:10 PM »
My cave is 10-12 C. My kitchen fridge is 4-5 C. The alum foil is not perforated, so it doesn't breath. Since I set up the cave, it is the only place I age all my cheeses.
The method of ageing at low temp all the way, although it takes more time, I suggested it because it worked for me very well.

Here is the recipe I follow nowadays:

Camembert – Basic Batch

Ingredients:

3 liters raw milk
3 ts buttermilk – Mesophilic culture starter
1 gr CaCl + ¼ cup water
Penicilum Candidum/Camemberti – per manufacturer’s instruction + ¼ cup water
Enzyme – per manufacturer’s instruction + ¼ cup water (I use MAXIREN Liquid Vegetarian, recommended dosage – 1 drop/1 liter milk, recommended by my mentor – 4 drops/3 liters milk)

Making:

1. Pasteurization: Heat milk to 72-74 deg C and cool as fast as possible to 42 deg C using a water bath (kitchen tub).
2. Curdling: Add culture and stir well, add CaCl and stir well, add Penicilum Candidum and stir well, finally add Enzyme and stir thoroughly for 15-20 seconds only. Leave intact for 30-60 minutes until a clean break is achieved.
3. Cutting: Cut the curd to pea size, about 1 cm cubes, wait 8 minutes.
4. Stirrings: Stir gently, complete cutting if needed and let settle for 5 minutes.
Stir gently, and let settle for 3 minutes.
5. Salting: Drain about 1/3 of the whey and stir in 80 gr of salt. Stir gently until the salt is mixed well and dissolved.
6. Moulding: Scoop out the curds and transfer them into 2 Camembert Molds. A metal disk (about 90 gr) can be applied on top of the curds.
7. Drainage: Leave for whey drainage at room temperature, not exceeding 20 deg C. Turn the cheeses in their molds when firm enough at 2-3 hours. Turn the cheeses every about 2 hours during the next 36-48 hours until dry enough.
8. Maturation: Store the cheeses at 12 deg C, 90-95% RH. When the cheeses reach 75% mold coverage, wrap in wrinkled alum foil and continue maturing at 4 deg C, alternately, let the cheese be fully covered with mold, then wrap in foil and continue aging at 12-14 deg C for up to a total of 6 weeks.

Notes:

1. The original recipe calls for 1 Tbs vinegar/1 liter milk added with the first ingredients. Lately I omit the vinegar, the success is the same.
2. The buttermilk I use, contains Streptococcus Lactis, Lactococcus Cremoris, Lactococcus Diacetylactis and Leuconostoc, very fresh with an exp. date of 3-4 weeks ahead.
3. To get a good mold development, right temperature and humidity, time and saltiness are needed. It is preferable to add a little bit more salt then less. Saltiness may prevent bad molds development.
4. A 7.5-9 liters batch can make Brie.
5. The picture shows a Camembert and a Brie mould I use. The Camembert mould is 10 cm in dia. and 9 cm high. The Brie mould is 20 cm in dia. and 11.5 cm high.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 02:17:18 AM »
Thanks Alex!
This is very informative and I am going to do this next time! It's an interesting one. First off, I have never used buttermilk as mesophilic before (and now I only have Flora Danica left in the house). Secondly, it's interesting that you don't use Geo at all. I suppose you get very thin rind? I also find it interesting that you didn't wait for flucctuation at all. It seems you put the rennet in immediately after you put in the buttermilk/starter. I also noticed that you use of metal disks. I have seen the French do it but never knew what this was about. Is this just to add light weight? Lastly, you seem to cut them very small and drain them very long. I would think that this would make for a rather dry cheese but than again...look at my liquid cheese and look at your firm one... I will try your way next time.

I do not have access to raw milk but I do have access to high quality fresh (2 day old) non-homogenized gently pasteurized milk. I assume no changes are needed for that. I also use hoops rather than molds for this to keep up with tradition and assure even draining when turned over.

Your aging process seems as if it is in line with my temperatures after all. You drain at 20°C for 1-2 days, grow mold at 12°C (7  +/-2 days I assume?) and then wrap and refrigerate at 4°C. You had previously mentioned that you do the entire maturation at 5°C for 4-5 weeks so I am not clear about this stage; it seems like mine with the exception of the foil. This is the weakest link in my process.
Your alternate method of wrapping and aging for 6 weeks at 12°C-14°C confuses me a bit. How can you age it LONGER if its at HIGHER temp? (4-5 weeks at 4°C Vs. 6 weeks at 12°C-14°C?) I think my cheeses would have gone bad after 2 weeks at 14°C. Did you mean 5°C?

Thanks for helping me so much, I really appreciate this!

Offline Alex

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 09:34:33 AM »
I am totally inexperienced with other than raw milk. I still didn't use Geo although I have a small package, and yes, I get thin rind. I put all the ingredients in a row without waiting between the ingredients. The reason for the metal disk is to apply some light pressure during draining, because of the French method of ladling the curds without cutting and healing. As I cut the curds, I came to a conclusion that for me it's not necessary. When you look at my cheese you can see a very homogeneous soft texture but not dry at all.
A 2 days old milk may be more acidic. BTW, I do turn/flip the cheese (as it starts to firm up) in those plastic basket molds.
Since I've set up my cave I do all the ageing process in the same place, at the same temp and humidity. If I want a runny  and more stinky cheese, I wrap it and age it for longer. My cave is oscillating between 10-12 C. Othervice, no wrapping, no lower temps, just until when I press the cheese between the thumb and the middle finger I feel like I press my eyeball.

P.S. - I just started to experience with flocculation method. I have three Cam's (X6) ageing, so far looks good, and a Toma Valmonte (X4).
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 09:59:26 AM by Alex »
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Offline mtncheesemaker(Pam)

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2010, 10:03:06 AM »
Hi Alex, Just wondering, why do you use CaCl with raw milk?
Thanks, Pam

Offline Alex

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Re: A familiar double trouble with Camembert. Any ideas?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2010, 10:19:54 AM »
I add CaCl to raw milk only when I use it pasteurized. I pasteurize the milk for cheese aged under 60 days.
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